The activities that you use in your first lessons are very important and are likely to set the tone for the rest of your classes.

Author: 
Clare Lavery

In your first lessons, it's a good idea to focus on getting to know each other, to develop rapport in the class and so you get an idea of the learners' interests and language level.

The activities outlined below are suitable from beginners level up and some can be adapted to suit higher levels.

Find someone who

Prepare this as a worksheet in advance, or you can ask learners to copy it into their notebooks. In a five by five grid, write different prompts, for example: hates cheese, likes rap, lives near the school ... The prompts will depend on the language structures you wish to use. You could elicit the ideas for the prompts from the learners.

  • Elicit the question each prompt generates, e.g. Do you hate cheese?
  • Ask learners to mingle and ask each other the questions until they find someone who answers yes to a question.
  • They write the name of that person next to the prompt and then continue to mingle to find other learners who answer yes to the other questions.
  • The first person to write a name for someone for each prompt is the winner. Elicit feedback with learners telling you about their findings, for example Ana hates cheese.

Adapt this game for younger learners giving a point for each name filled in each square. Learners add up their points when you tell them to stop.

Classmate bingo

Learners choose six names of people in their class and put them in a bingo grid.

  • Randomly ask for names around the class.
  • Learners cross off the names mentioned on their bingo card.
  • The first person to cross off all names on their card is the winner.

Change the theme from names to favourite food, sports you play, colour socks you're wearing, etc.

These are a few of my favourite things

You could use the Julie Andrews song as an introduction, reading the words if you haven't got the music.

  • Put five or six prompts on the board under the word favourite, for example: food, sport, school subject, number, colour, smell, sound, taste, day of the year, season, type of music, etc.
  • Check learners can formulate the question What's your favourite ...? Elicit some individual responses from learners.
  • Higher level learners can be encouraged to justify their choices, for example My favourite season is winter because I love skiing.
  • Learners then interview each other. Extend by asking them to find someone who shares a favourite thing with them.

An alternative is to start the lesson with a poster of pictures of your favourite things. Learners ask questions about your poster, for example Why do you like cats? or Have you got any cats? Learners can then draw a poster of their favourite things before interviewing each other.

Another variation could be top five lists, for example my top five favourite places, songs, celebrities, free-time activities, etc.

Language level
Language Level: 
Beginner: A1